Skip to main content

Full text of "A search in secret Egypt"

See other formats

I FELL upon my knees behind one of the noble pillars of the mosque and let the wings of my heart flap their way silently upwards in reverent devotion to that Higher Power which the men around me called Allah, the Power to which I had never been able to assign any name but which I, too, had agreed to call Allah during my sojomp in Egypt. I knew that we all in this respect meant the same thing, the same Supreme Being Who holds us all in the hollow of His unseen hands, and I could very well accept Him by one name as by none.
I do not know how long a time passed before someone began to read from a ponderous ancient folio of the Qunm% Allah's sacred writ for this land, in barely-heard chanted tones. And, as the pleasant Arabic murmurs feU from his lips, I looked up and glanced around at those others who had obeyed the Prophet's command to gather at the onset of dusk and remember for a few minutes the Divine Source to which we owe our very life and being. There was an old man beside me dressed in a long robe of blue-striped white silk. His skin was the colour of pale walnut and provided excellent background for a row of splendid white teeth. He touched the soft red carpet with his forehead the while he whispered his prayers; and constantly lifted himself up, again to repeat the prostration. Anon he placed his hands flat upon his thighs, continued his whispering, and, before long, bent his brow to the floor once more.
There was another old man who entered and invoked the mercy of Allah even as I gazed around and who was also soon swaying to and fro at his devotions. He looked extremely poor and his tattered robe, which had once been white but was now dull grey, was in danger of becoming a heap of rags.
His scarred and wrinkled face seemed a little tired with the battle which life and Allah had imposed upon him; but here,